Being just a week away from Fashion Week – set to kick off on 8th September in New York – we thought we’d give you a brief overview of this prestigious event, which has been shaping the fashion world as well as other industries for almost a century.
Read on to find out some fascinating facts about Fashion Week, and discover the interesting history behind this phenomenon.
So what is Fashion Week, and when did it all start?
One of the pivotal events in the fashion world, Fashion Week is essentially a showcase held twice a year in four major fashion capitals of the world. For approximately one month, New York, London, Milan and Paris host this crucial event far ahead of the beginning of the respective season, setting the main trends to follow.
There are a few different opinions about the birth of Fashion Week, however most accounts agree that the first seasonal Fashion Week was organised in New York in 1943, even though it was not officially called Fashion Week.
Paris followed shortly after this, in 1945, when the “fashion shows” which had already been held for a long time in the French capital turned into a regular and seasonal event. It was then the turn of the Italians, who held the first “Settimana della Moda” (Fashion Week) in Milan in 1958, and the Brits, for whom this major event took off in 1984 in London.
Interesting facts about Fashion Week
Now that we’ve consolidated our knowledge of fashion history, let’s have a look at some of the most interesting – but not necessarily so well-known – facts surrounding Fashion Week.
- The first ever Fashion Week (New York’s) was actually created with the purpose of promoting American fashion during the occupation of France, even though it is thought that the first American fashion show was held in 1903.
- Models need a thorough preparation in order to be able to perform in these events: not only must they look flawless, they also need to adapt to the environment! Apparently, models need to walk at a different rhythm depending on the catwalk they’re performing on. Faster in New York, slower in Paris.
- Speaking of the city of love… Paris actually hosts not one but two fashion weeks! One is for haute couture and the other for prêt-à-porter.
- Despite how much they cost (more on that below) and the time they take to prepare, fashion shows during Fashion Week all last approximately 10 minutes. So short!
The impact Fashion Week has on the economy
Fashion shows hosted during Fashion Week are free and open to virtually anyone. However, the general public is hardly ever spotted at the events, since the tickets are usually reserved for celebrities and members of the fashion industry.
This means that funding for these pricey events, which cost, on average, a whopping £105,000 each, all comes out of the designers’ pockets – or at least it should… While some newbies risk bankruptcy to host the show of their lives, major designers usually receive a number of sponsorships, which allow them to spend little to zero money to organise their prestigious events.
These numbers might make your head spin, but wait to see the benefits Fashion Week has on the economy before being too quick to judge.
It is undeniable that much money is spent on holding this leading event in the fashion industry, however the returns for the economy are huge. In 2015, it was estimated that the UK economy was boosted by approximately £27 billion thanks to London Fashion Week.
This results not only from the boost in tourism that is inevitably generated by this event – hotel occupancy rates in Milan fluctuate between 90%-95% during Fashion Week – but also from the number of jobs supported and/or created by the phenomenon.
How do languages and translation play a role in Fashion Week and more generally in the fashion industry?
Being such a major event in the fashion industry, Fashion Week is not simply about how the trends of the season are set, but it is also, and in fact primarily, a great way for brands to promote their work. How could Fashion Week possibly be so successful and impactful for designers if we didn’t talk about it so much… in all languages?
The role played by the media in determining the success of a trend or a collection is strongly linked to the way in which all this information is conveyed across different markets and, therefore, in various languages. Translation of fashion content is paramount to ensure any brand’s style and values are faithfully conveyed to wider segments of the market.
The way words are used in fashion copy is crucial not only in describing a piece of clothing, which is in itself a complicated task basically involving an attempt to “contain” a three-dimensional form – the clothes – into a flat one – the script; but also in outlining a specific voice – that of the brand – through a specific use of words and syntactic structures.
Now imagine trying to reproduce all of that into a completely different language… That will definitely give you a headache – but we are here to make it go away!
Professional translation is absolutely necessary to ensure that the language shift is a successful one. Creative Translation is well-versed in fashion copy and has been making fashion brands work in many languages for a long time. Read our case study on COS to find out how we’ve been making it work across very different markets for one of the world’s leading fashion labels.
With the help of translators and copywriters specialised in fashion-related content, we make sure fashion brands’ copy always stands out and their brand voice is heard clearly.
If you yourself are in the fashion industry and are in need of professional translation services to make sure your designs are promoted effectively across different markets, give us a call today on +44 (0)207294 7710 or email us at email@example.com and we’ll be happy to help your brand become a hit.